This site extends to approximately 11.7 hectares in the village of Apperley Bridge, Bradford. Characterised by undulating pasture land, this steeply sloping site falling as much as 40 metres is bounded to the south and west by residential development and the Leeds/Liverpool canal to the east.
Dobson staircase locks are situated on the Leeds/Liverpool canal at the north east edge of the site. These two rise locks built circa 1770 are Grade II listed and the adjacent cottages, a row of three former canal company cottages are also grade A listed.
Constrained by an existing 200mm diameter public rising main, a 900 x 600mm diameter public combined sewer and existing culverted watercourse the site presented a number of design challenges.
A detailed assessment of the topography was first required in order to provide a highway network that could serve the site within acceptable gradient limits. From this evolved a ‘spine road’ akin to the stem of a leaf that included auxiliary shoots and the spine was identified as the main ‘place making’ opportunity of the development.
Our solution was for this spine to be exploited to create notable places where individual houses are arranged to form layout groups. This approach worked well by sticking to the rule of the group being more important than the individual plot.
Separate to the spine the buildings that provide the built edge albeit some distance away but still overlooking Dobson Lock were identified as occupying the most prominent and visible position on the site.
Analysis of the site topography led to the design of a split level apartment building stepping down the hill that falls towards the lock. The design utilises a mix of modern and traditional building materials.
We were asked to present our proposals to the RIBA Yorkshire Design Review Panel and this important dialogue resulted in support of our design. Full planning approval was granted in 2014
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